3 Times to Sprint in Ministry

I have been serving in vocational ministry for 16 years. I have been tired for 16 years. Can you relate?

Ironically, as I was running on an elliptical trainer this morning it occurred to me that whenever I speak of someone’s faith journey, I often refer to it as their “walk with God.”

So, here’s the big question. If everyone else is walking with God, why do I always feel like I am running?
If everyone else is walking with God, why do I always feel like I am running? Click To Tweet

It is true that Paul the Apostle says that we should run the race in such a way as to win the prize (1 Cor. 9:24).

Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee. He walked on water. He invited people to rise and walk. There are plenty of Psalms that emphasize the importance of walking in the truth and the light.

What I am finally learning after all these years is that there are times for running and times for walking. If we compare our spiritual training to that of physical training, we might find a benefit to the concept of interval training.

There have been many studies in recent years, highlighted by the research of Martin Gibala, chair of kinesiology at McMaster University, that quick bursts of exercise at intense levels can have equal or better results than longer, continuous workouts. Pushing your heart rate and lungs to peak levels for short periods, followed by rest, can have greater benefits than longer, less intense periods of exercise.

I believe that the same can be true for our ministry efforts and the schedules we keep for ourselves as leaders, serving our congregations and church families.

KNOWING WHEN TO RUN
Not all ministry endeavors have the same payoff. There are opportunities that you can commit significant time and energy to that may not help you gain much traction in accomplishing your mission. Knowing when to run and when to rest is key.

Here are 3 keys to identifying a time to run:

1) Run when you’re in your wheelhouse.

When you have an opportunity to put your hands to something you love doing, something you know you is in your gifting, give it all you’ve got. Those are the seasons that running won’t even necessarily feel like running.

When you have an opportunity to put your hands to something you love doing, something you know you is in your gifting, give it all you’ve got. Click To Tweet
2) Run when there is clear ground to be gained.

If you can take action and put your hands to something that will clearly help you and/or your ministry take a significant step forward towards accomplishing a mission-related goal, lean into it.

3) Run when you face a tipping point.

Malcolm Gladwell defines a tipping point as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point”.

There will be experiences and circumstances that you face when you know that action must be taken in order to other drive your organization forward or to prevent it from taking a step back. When you see that something is about to tip, you need to bear down and give every effort to either see it through or to hold it back.

I hear stories all the time of pastors suffering burnout. They get to the end of a rope physically, emotionally and spiritually. They run out of gas and just quit.

No one can run at full speed all the time. There are times to run, times to rest and times to sprint.

What do you think? Are there times when you believe running is more critical than resting?